I realized during the night that there is going to be another source of demand for Safecoins coming from the need for Safe apps to bridge with the current Internet protocols. For example, let’s say I am developing an online email service that aims to be interoperable with the current email system but uses the computational and storage resources of the Safe network to operate. At some point in the network, there will need to exist a Node that can receive requests from the email app and convert them into actual emails, and do this on reverse also, namely to act as an email server and convert the emails back to Safe data for a particular user. That Node could charge Safecoins for performing the operation in either direction.
In order to find the existing protocols from a Safe App, we would have to augment routing tables (or manage it in a separate layer) with additional services offered by Nodes. We could follow the same naming convention and assign 512-bit IDs to Nodes with email services. In order to find a Node to act as an outgoing server, one would select the closest(s) according to the XOR distance to the hash of the email message. That would automatically spread the load through all the existing Node servers. (I have not thought through yet how to spread the load when Nodes are acting as incoming email servers.)
In order to trust the proper operation of the Node, we could apply the same strategy as for Vaults, namely to have a check-and-balance system where neighbouring email Nodes challenge each other regularly with random email sending/receiving requests and rank the Node according to whether the emails were sent correctly or not.
I think the idea generalizes to other protocols.
Existing Internet companies with public protocols (APIs), such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc. could earn Safecoins by providing nodes that directly bridge to their existing public APIs. As the SAFE network becomes more popular a significant revenue stream could come from Safe Apps and maybe could shift the focus from ad-supported free services to a micro-transaction model based on Safecoin. That is, until they develop their services natively on the platform (or not, for some applications like large-scale high-performance numerical simulation, a dedicated cluster might still be the way to go…). @dirvine, do you see potential in this? The major shift in perspective for me is going from trying to replace the current Internet to providing a scalable glue-platform that offers both native micro-transactions and ties in existing systems while offering a way forward to offer storage, computational, and bandwidth resources to decentralize the implementation of those systems and organizations.
Other public protocols could be supported by having Farmers maintaining Nodes that perform these operations.
What do you guys think?
@happybeing (or another mod) I am not quite sure of the category(ies) in which to file this post. Please refile it if necessary.